RADIO.COM’s 2020 NFL Playoff and Super Bowl Predictions

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By RADIO.COM

Salary cap be damned—the Chiefs are going for it. For Patrick Mahomes, the league’s first half-billion-dollar player, it was never a matter of when or even if—the question was always how many. This particular subject has drawn considerable debate among teammates. Chris Jones set the over/under at five while Tyreek Hill, well aware of Tom Brady’s six rings with New England, sees the Chiefs capturing an unprecedented seven Super Bowls throughout Mahomes’ Kansas City reign.

Of course, even for a player of Mahomes’ all-world caliber, stacking titles is easier said than done. After reaching the mountain top in just his third season atop the Packers’ quarterback depth chart (which became possible only after Brett Favre ceded his Lambeau throne in 2008), sports pundits forecast a massive hardware haul for Aaron Rodgers, assuming Green Bay’s triumph over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV was just the beginning. A decade later, Rodgers’ stagnant championship count hasn’t moved a muscle with many now wondering if the future Hall of Famer will ever return to the winner’s circle he graced with such aplomb early in his career. The similarly decorated Drew Brees, author of nearly every passing record in existence, is also in danger of maxing out at a single Lombardi trophy.

Whether it’s recency bias on the heels of KC’s first victory parade in a half century or the belief Mahomes’ endless reservoir of talent can overcome the laws of NFL parity, the writers of RADIO.COM overwhelming favor the Chiefs to repeat as Super Bowl champs. Of the 29 writers polled, a group comprised of five central-team scribes (myself, Jordan Cohn, John Healy, Tim Kelly and Dan Mennella) and a smattering of local minds, 12 picked Kansas City to add another notch to its championship belt in 2020. The Ravens, armed with 11 returning Pro Bowlers and a generational specimen in reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson, also drew strong support from our panel, garnering six Super Bowl nominations to Tampa Bay’s four. Curiously, 11 prognosticators chose the Saints to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV, though only two had them as the last team standing.

The Chiefs made it look easy in 2019, but has the formula changed now that they have a target on their back? With Kansas City beginning its title defense Thursday against the Texans—whom the Chiefs defeated in exhilarating fashion by erasing a 24-point deficit in last year’s postseason—it’s time we find out.

*Denotes Wild Card team

Knox Bardeen, 92.9 The Game

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, *Browns, *Steelers, *Colts

NFC: Eagles, Vikings, Buccaneers, Seahawks, *Saints, *Packers, *49ers

Super Bowl: Buccaneers over Chiefs

Tom Brady will have his ride-off-into-the-sunset moment by adding another Super Bowl to his glowing NFL resume, this time without the help of Bill Belichick. The question is whether he’ll actually retire or try for another ring at age 44. In a quarterback-driven league, this championship matchup pits the current best Patrick Mahomes against arguably the greatest ever. Boy did the Bucs surround Brady with plenty of weapons in Tampa.

Will Burchfield, 97.1 The Ticket

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, *Bills, *Steelers, *Titans

NFC: Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks, *Buccaneers, *49ers, *Packers

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Saints

We get our first repeat champion since the 2004 Patriots and Patrick Mahomes tops it off with his second straight Super Bowl MVP. There’s heavy artillery across the NFL, but no one can light up a scoreboard like KC. Look for the Chiefs to outgun Drew Brees and the Saints in a high-scoring finale.

Sal Capaccio, WGR Sports Radio 550

Drew Brees following the Saints' Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis
Photo credit Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

AFC: Bills, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, *Ravens, *Colts, *Broncos

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks, *49ers, *Buccaneers, *Eagles

Super Bowl: Saints over Chiefs

The Saints may have the best overall roster in the NFL. They're talented, deep and also have Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who finishes his career on top by winning another Super Bowl, denying Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid a chance for their second straight Lombardi.

Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Steelers, *Patriots, *Colts

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, Seahawks, *49ers, *Buccaneers, *Eagles

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Saints

The matchup I predicted a year ago finally comes to fruition in 2020. Drew Brees is able to lead New Orleans back to the Super Bowl in his final season, but unfortunately for him, his reward is a date with Patrick Mahomes and the star-studded Chiefs, who claim their second straight title. I think we may have a dynasty on our hands in KC.

Jordan Cohn, RADIO.COM

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Steelers, *Colts, *Texans

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, 49ers, *Seahawks, *Packers, *Buccaneers

Super Bowl: Ravens over Saints

The Ravens and Saints were two of the NFL’s best a season ago. Then Baltimore went and upgraded what was already a formidable pass-rush by acquiring five-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell while beefing up its linebacker corps with the addition of LSU standout Patrick Queen, the cherry on top of a brilliant Ravens draft class. Meanwhile New Orleans bolstered its pass-catching room by poaching three-time 1,000-yard receiver Emmanuel Sanders, brought in ace safety Malcolm Jenkins to shore up the secondary and even added another body to the offensive line by spending a first-round pick on Michigan center Cesar Ruiz. Given their improvements this offseason, I see these top-shelf franchises slugging it out in a memorable Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

Joe DiBiase, WGR Sports Radio 550

Ben Roethlisberger pumps his fist after a big play
Photo credit Sean Gardner, Getty Images

AFC: Bills, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, *Ravens, *Chargers, *Browns

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, 49ers, *Seahawks, *Buccaneers, *Lions

Super Bowl: Steelers over Saints

Only four teams enter 2020 with more continuity than the Steelers, who quietly return 82.4% of last year’s snaps. Coming off a .500 season, Pittsburgh boasts an elite defense and should benefit immensely from the return of Ben Roethlisberger, who missed much of last year with a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow.

Lou DiPietro, WFAN

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, *Patriots, *Colts, *Steelers

NFC: Eagles, Vikings, Buccaneers, Seahawks, *Packers, *49ers, *Saints

Super Bowl: Buccaneers over Ravens

Consistency, as Ross Tucker conveyed in the premiere of WFAN’s “Odds On Sports,” is going to be the key this season. Seven of my eight division winners have it and when it comes to Brady and Gronk, anything goes. The added playoff spots help fringe teams like the Pats and Packers get in, but in the end, I think the Brady and Gronk redemption tour is going to run wild with Tampa Bay becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. After the Ravens knock off the reigning-champion Chiefs in one of the best conference championships ever, they’ll be ripe for the picking against Brady’s high-powered Bucs.

Dan Edwards, WCCO

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Bills, *Raiders, *Colts

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Buccaneers, Seahawks, *49ers, *Washington, *Saints

Super Bowl: Buccaneers over Patriots

This will be a comeback year for a pair of former franchise quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Cam Newton. Tampa Bay has too many weapons to fail and should breeze to an NFC title. The Patriots, led by a resurgent Newton and the legendary coaching mind of Bill Belichick, face a slightly tougher road in the AFC, but I expect them to stand tall in their inevitable confrontation with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. In a Hollywood-esque ending, Brady will get the better of his former team in Super Bowl LV, raising Lombardi No. 7 while donning Bucs red and pewter.

Chris Emma, 670 The Score

Patrick Mahomes celebrating his Super Bowl MVP Award
Photo credit Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images

AFC: Patriots, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, *Bills, *Broncos, *Ravens

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, 49ers, *Eagles, *Bears, *Cardinals

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Saints​

The Chiefs have positioned themselves to win many more Super Bowls in the next decade, locking in their championship core with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill, among others. With Andy Reid and Brett Veach in charge, Kansas City has the continuity to keep winning, including a repeat in 2020.

Adam The Bull, 92.3 The Fan

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Bills, *Steelers, *Texans

NFC: Eagles, Lions, Saints, Seahawks, *Cowboys, *Buccaneers, *Rams

Super Bowl: Ravens over Seahawks

As you’ll see, I mostly stuck to chalk, though I did go out on a limb with Detroit winning the NFC North and 2019 runner-up San Francisco missing the postseason entirely. I think this will be the year Lamar Jackson finally puts it together in the playoffs, leading Baltimore over Seattle in a thrilling Super Bowl LV.

Ryan Hannable, WEEI

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, *Bills, *Steelers, *Titans

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks, *Buccaneers, *Eagles, *Packers

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Saints

The Chiefs return almost the exact roster that won it all a season ago, so why should we expect any different in 2020? New Orleans will make one final push with Drew Brees under center, but reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes will ultimately prove too much to overcome.

John Healy, RADIO.COM

Lamar Jackson admires one of his league-best 36 touchdown throws in 2019
Photo credit Patrick Smith, Getty Images

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, *Steelers, *Texans, *Broncos

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, 49ers, *Buccaneers, *Seahawks, *Cardinals

Super Bowl: Ravens over Cowboys

Lamar Jackson was the story of the NFL last season before a playoff clunker against Tennessee abruptly ended his storybook 2019. Already among the league’s elite signal-callers, Jackson now enters 2020 with a major chip on his shoulder after last year’s playoff disappointment. With the recent additions of former Jags pass-rusher Calais Campbell and prized rookie J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio State, the Ravens look even more fearsome on paper than they did a year ago when they rolled to a league-best 14-2 regular-season mark. As for the NFC, Dallas has always had plenty of offensive firepower, but with newcomers Dontari Poe and Everson Griffen in tow, the Cowboys’ daunting front seven should be as good as any in the league.

Jason Huber, WFNZ

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Colts, *Steelers, *Texans

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Buccaneers, 49ers, *Saints, *Seahawks, *Packers

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Buccaneers

We're witnessing the beginning of a dynasty in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid both locked up for the long haul. In what figures to be a strange season amid COVID, Mahomes will top Tom Brady’s Buccaneers in a passing-of-the-torch victory. Brady’s arrival will rejuvenate the long-suffering Bucs but Kansas City's potent offense will ultimately prove too much as the Chiefs, playing on Tampa Bay’s home turf, will become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs since New England in 2004.

Paul Ihander, CBS Sports Radio 1140

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, *Raiders, *Patriots, *Steelers

NFC: Cowboys, Vikings, Buccaneers, Seahawks, *Saints, *49ers, *Eagles

Super Bowl: Ravens over Cowboys

This is the year for Baltimore. The Ravens will be a hungry team coming off last year’s playoff face plant. Adding a durable and productive Calais Campbell to pair with free-agent add Derek Wolfe at defensive end only strengthens what was already one of the league’s toughest defenses. Baltimore’s late-season schedule with cupcake matchups against Jacksonville, the Giants and Cincinnati should help pad the Ravens’ record heading into the playoffs. December 3rd’s matchup between Dallas and Baltimore could very well be a Super Bowl preview.

Evan Jankens, 97.1 The Ticket

Cam Newton getting his arm loose at Patriots training camp
Photo credit Steven Senne-Pool, Getty Images

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Bills, *Texans, *Raiders

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Falcons, Rams, *Lions, *Seahawks, *Eagles

Super Bowl: Patriots over Lions

At this point, would anything surprise you in 2020? The NFC’s representative will come from the North with the Lions not only claiming their first playoff win since 1991, but advancing all the way to Tampa, where they’ll encounter the AFC Champion Patriots in Super Bowl LV. New England will get a huge season from former MVP Cam Newton with Bill Belichick proving he can succeed without Tom Brady, whose Buccaneers will be watching the playoffs from home. This will be the year Matt Patricia finally gets through to his team and transforms Detroit into a top-five defense. In the end though, Cam and Belichick will be the difference for New England with the Patriots bringing a seventh Super Bowl back to Foxboro.

Jason Keidel, WFAN

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Titans, Chiefs, *Patriots, *Colts, *Steelers

NFC: Cowboys, Packers, Saints, 49ers, *Seahawks, *Buccaneers, *Vikings

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Ravens

Seattle is the engine that could, or rather, the QB that could. Indeed, Russell Wilson has blossomed into the Seahawks’ unquestioned leader, star performer and arguably the most indispensable player in football. Wilson is so good he can beat you six ways, so smart he knows when to throw, scramble, or take off and so clever he knows how to dance through defenses without getting blasted by oncoming traffic. The post-Legion-of-Boom Seahawks have finally regained their mojo. Even last year, this outfit finished a respectable 11-5, needing just a few lucky breaks to upset the Niners for a division title. And most of that was accomplished without the help of a healthy rushing attack. Expect perennial 1,000-yard threat Chris Carson and veteran backup Carlos Hyde (coming off a 1,000-yard campaign of his own in 2019) to quickly change that narrative. And if former first-round pick Rashaad Penny returns from injury in a couple months as the Seahawks expect him to, watch out. After a promising rookie year, muscle-bound deep threat DK Metcalf is well-positioned to make a sophomore leap in 2020.

Generally, if you have the best quarterback and coach on your squad, you stand a pretty good chance of winning. It's why the Steelers haven't had a losing record since drafting Big Ben in 2004, why New England has played in almost half the Super Bowls this century and why the Saints have reached the playoffs more times under Drew Brees (seven) than they had in their entire 38-year history (five playoff appearances) before Brees showed up in 2006. Last year Andy Reid finally won his first ring on the back of the best quarterback he’s ever coached, Patrick Mahomes. Maybe it's Seattle’s turn to do the same with Wilson leading the charge in 2020.

Tim Kelly, RADIO.COM

AFC: Bills, Ravens, Colts, Chiefs, *Steelers, *Patriots, *Broncos

NFC: Cowboys, Lions, Saints, 49ers, *Buccaneers, *Seahawks, *Eagles

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Cowboys

It's difficult to project postseason matchups without an understanding of where the world may be in January and how our current state of affairs could affect fans’ ability to attend games. It's always great to earn home-field advantage and a first-round bye, but it certainly doesn’t mean as much if your stadium is empty or can’t host fans at anywhere near full capacity. With that in mind, I’m picking the Cowboys to upset the Saints in what will likely be the final game of Drew Brees' storied career, with Dallas appearing in its first Super Bowl since Troy Aikman’s heyday in the mid-90s. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they'll run into a brick wall against Kansas City with the Chiefs hailing as the first repeat champ since New England in 2004.

Andrew Limberg, 93.7 The Fan

AFC: Bills, Steelers, Texans, Chiefs, *Ravens, *Patriots, *Broncos

NFC: Eagles, Vikings, Buccaneers, Seahawks, *Saints, *49ers, *Cowboys

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Seahawks

The Chiefs are simply too stacked not to return to the Super Bowl and the Seahawks will edge the Saints to advance to their first title game since the team’s gut-wrenching loss to Malcolm Butler and the Patriots in 2014. Seattle’s championship bid will ultimately come up short with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes delivering his second Lombardi in as many years.

Chris Lingebach, 106.7 The Fan

AFC: Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, *Steelers, *Bills, *Titans

NFC: Eagles, Packers, Buccaneers, Rams, *49ers, *Cowboys, *Saints

Super Bowl: Chiefs over Buccaneers

The fates of two franchises will be decided in Super Bowl LV with Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady battling for the Lombardi in a Young vs. Old matchup Hollywood couldn’t have scripted any better. It will be a somber occasion when the greatest quarterback ever sees his final shot at Super Bowl glory go up in smoke (score another one for Father Time). In defeat, the Buccaneers will become the first team to lose a Super Bowl on their home field with Mahomes penning another memorable chapter in the Chiefs’ budding dynasty.